hello, and welcome to nhk "newsline." i'm ross mihara in tokyo. ukrainian president petro poroshenko has signed a landmark agreement with the european union. the free trade deal paves the way for the country to join the bloc. the document known as an association agreement grants ukraine greater access to the eu's 28 member nations and its 500 million citizens. >> most important day for my country after the independence day.
>> poroshenko made it clear that the agreement covers all parts of ukraine, including the crimean peninsula. russia unilaterally annexed the territory in march. the deal drew a warning from russia. a spokesman for president vladimir putin said the kremlin will take action if the agreement hurts its market. poroshenko's predecessor refused to sign the treaty under pressure from russia. that sparked street protests which toppled his government. eu leaders are pressing russia to help defuse the crisis in eastern ukraine. they want to join talks on implementing president poroshenko's peace plan. they released a statement saying they may impose more sanctions if the russians don't cooperate. eu leaders urged russia to help find ways to end the fighting. they demanded leaders this moscow agree to join talks by monday. they're also pushing the russians to agree to the creation of a system to verify a cease-fire. that would be monitored by the
organization for security and cooperation in europe. poroshenko says he doesn't want sanctions for the sake of sanctions. he says what's needed is dialogue. russian president putin says he supports efforts to de-escalate the conflict. he says a long-term cease-fire between the ukrainian government and pro-russian separatists is a precondition for talks. the world's largest naval drill is under way in hawaii. the u.s.-led rim of the pacific exercise has been held every two years since 1971, and for the first time china is taking part. the country's participation comes at a time of heightened regional tensions over territorial disputes at sea. nhk world's noriko okada reports. >> reporter: a group of chinese ships have arrived in pearl harbor. not only flying its own flag but also the colors of the u.s.
china has sent four vessels, a missile destroyer, a frigate, a supply ship, and a hospital ship. u.s. naval officials greeted their chinese counterparts for the first time during the rim-pac exercise. china and other countries' fleets got into formation ahead of the drill and conducted fire exercises. the naval drills are to foster cooperation among participants that is critical to maritime security. 22 countries are taking part this year. >> translator: by visiting each other's ships, sailors from different countries can increase their understanding of one another. i think it has laid a solid foundation for the next phase of the exercise. >> reporter: china's participation comes at a time of growing tension over disputed islands in the east and south china sea. in may, a chinese fishing vessel rammed a vietnamese fishing boat in the disputed south china sea.
patrol ships of the two sides have repeatedly collided. nations neighboring china are increasingly wary of china, of its building up its military capabilities. a former president of the national defense academy says that china's participation in the exercise is only a small step towards easing tensions. >> at least both sides are showing gesture that they are not being hostile to each other, participating in this multi-national exercises. but also both sides, particularly chinese, are trying to see how they can cope with future tensions. there will be more tensions in the future. as i said, the chinese intention is to drive the american presence in the rest of the
pacific away from the area. the added motive behind the u.s. invitation of chinese ships is to see what kind of capability chinese ships have. china has its own interest to see how the u.s. naval operations may work, how they will operate their ships. the chinese and u.s. naval ships, they are trying to figure out how they can fight. >> reporter: over the next month, it still remains to be seen what drills china will be invited to and how much cooperation will be achieved. noriko okada, nhk world, tokyo. one japanese cabinet minister is trying to improve cooperation with his counterparts in china. he's in beijing working to thaw strained relations. japan's land minister is a
member of junior coalition partner new komeito. he met with the chinese vice premier. she praised new komeito for playing a positive role in japan-china relations. ota is the first japanese cabinet minister to hold talks with a chinese vice premier in nearly two years. relations soured when japan's government nationalized the senkaku islands in the east china sea in september 2012. japan controls the islands. china and taiwan claim them. u.s. president barack obama has taken steps to help stop the violence in syria from spilling over into iraq. he has asked congress to increase support for moderate opposition forces. officials with the obama administration have requested $500 million for equipment, supplies, and training. the assistance would be for opposition forces in syria once they have been screened. the u.s. government has been calling for the departure of president bashar al assad. the united states has been
engaged in operations to support the opposition forces, but this is the first time it has openly said that it plans to train them. iraqi government forces and islamist insurgents are stepping up their attacks on each other. they're fighting in major cities and near oil and gas fields. troops recaptured a university from sunni fighters in the northern city of tikrit. they're also fighting insurgents at the mansuriya gas field about 100 kilometers north of baghdad. militants are trying to gain control of oil and gas facilities that are vital to iraq's economy. government forces are also battling insurgents in areas near syria. officials say troops killed 30 who had crossed the border. a japanese red cross nurse says the fighting in iraq is affecting medical help for refugees. chiyuki yoshida has been working since november in the southern city of nasha.
she came back to japan and reported on the situation. >> translator: lots of internally displaced people are suffering from chronic diseases. >> yoshida says more than 12,000 people have been displaced to southern iraq since december. she says more than 100 displaced families arrived in nasha in june from the northern city of mosul. that city had been captured by islamist militants. she said she was frustrated as she couldn't deliver supplies to refugees. staff were ordered to stay in their office because of a bomb attack. yoshida plans to resume her work in iraq next month. north korean media says leader kim jong-un has attended a test firing of what they call newly developed ultra precision
guided missiles. the korean central news agency says that kim directly ordered the firing on thursday. a spokesperson for south korea's defense ministry said that kim likely attended the launch of three projectiles. he said that military leaders in pyongyang are trying to upgrade their new large-caliber rockets. >> translator: the north has been firing the multi-rocket launchers, and the firing range increases every time. >> in march, a new type of rocket flew about 150 kilometers. the projectiles fired are said to have traveled about 40 kilometers farther. that range is far enough to reach the central parts of south korea. military analysts say it's hard to detect launch preparations of rockets making it difficult to intercept them. they say the artillery could pose a significant threat to the south korean military and to u.s. forces stationed in the country.
japanese are recommending the government allow pilots to keep flying until they're older. aviators in japan are not allowed to fly passenger aircraft past the age of 64. experts advising the transport ministry say the officials should raise the age limit as early as next year. they say authorities should first consider safety issues including ways to keep pilots healthy. about 8% of flight crew members on japanese carriers are age 60 or older. the transport ministry says there are no reports of age-related problems. the pilot shortage has forced japanese low-cost carriers to cancel services. peach aviation canceled 1300 flights from may to august. vanilla air couldn't operate 150 this month.
the head of the international olympic committee's coordination commission says he's very pleased with the initial progress made for the 2020 games. john coates visited tokyo to inspect all 18 planned venue sites. he and other ioc officials also met with the organizing committee. earlier this month, the tokyo governor yoichi masuzoe decided that the city will review the plan to build new venues because of rising construction costs. he said facility locations will also be re-examined. in an interview with nhk, coates suggested that tokyo should consult other international sporting bodies to develop a plan. >> the planning and the final determination needs to be done certainly in the next few months. we would like to make sure that the experts at the international federation can offer, can come here and give you advice for what's a new venue you can do it at the most appropriate cost. >> coates praised tokyo's
organizing committee during his three-day visit. he said they've laid a strong foundation and says city officials should uphold their initial vision of keeping the games compact. >> translator: it would be meaningless to build wasteful facilities. we will come up with a new general plan and report it to the ioc as soon as possible. >> members of the ioc's coordination commission will return to tokyo next year for another update. supporters of afghan presidential candidate abdullah abdullah have rallied to protest against alleged election fraud. patchari raksawong in bang congress is following the story. >> abdullah has been demanding a halt to vote counting. the election was hailed as an opportunity to achieve afghanistan's first-ever democratic transition of power. but there are concerns the
current confusion may cause dangerous ethnic tensions. thousands marched to the presidential palace in kabul on friday. abdullah attended to greet his supporters. many voiced their frustrations about the election. >> translator: we've gathered to demand our rights and condemn the fraudsters. we will defend our rights to the last drop of our blood. >> former foreign minister abdullah and former finance minister ashraf ghani were the two candidates in the runoff election on june 14th. abdullah last week demanded the vote count be stopped. he accused the independent election commission of widespread fraud and called on the chief of its secretariat to resign. he resigned on monday. he denied abdullah's allegations and said he was stepping down for the sake of confidence building. abdullah's support comes mostly
from ethnic tajiks, while ghani is supported by pashtuns. observers say there's a risk that disputes over the election could widen ethnic divisions in afghanistan. taliban militants this week clashed with government forces in the southern province of helmand leaving more than 100 people dead. most international troops are due to leave afghanistan by the end of this year. the u.s. wants some of its forces to stay behind, but it needs a new afghan president to approve that plan. preliminary election results due on wednesday may be delayed unless the current confusion is resolved. observers say a protracted standoff could jeopardize washington's long-term security plan for afghanistan. at least 15 people have died in india after an underground gas pipeline exploded on friday. the incident highlights concerns about the safety of india's industrial infrastructure.
the blast occurred in the southern state of andrha pradesh shortly before 6:00 a.m. local time. the pipeline is operated by the state-owned gas authority of india. nearby houses were damaged, forcing residents to evacuate. the operator hasn't yet determined the cause of the explosion. local media say gas leaks from the aging pipeline may be to blame. ap says an explosion and subsequent gas leak at a government-run steel plant two weeks ago killed six people and injured 29. industrial scale commercial piracy is a widespread problem in many asean economies. philippine authorities on friday destroyed thousands of counterfeit goods to highlight their crackdown on illegal copying. police in the capital manila steamrolled thousands of counterfeit items including sunglasses, dvds, and beauty
products. >> we need to educate the public as to the dangers of counterfeit products and pirated items. and they have to know and appreciate also the value of intellectual property rights. it's a long-term strategy. the ultimate solution is really to educate the public. >> fake cut-priced merchandise is readily available from street stores and marketplaces in the philippines. anti-piracy authorities say in the first five months of this year they seized pirated goods worth $155 million. and that will wrap up our bulletin. i'm patchari raksawong in bangkok. emerging economic powers still struggling with poverty. emboldened citizens still demanding democracy. the threat of violence. the push for peace. the shadow of conflict. get news and insight on south and southeast asia every
weekday, live from bangkok, only on nhk world "newsline". chinese tea sellers are re-inventing their products in an effort to win over the mainland market. >> reporter: companies took part in an international tea trade fair in beijing. they introduced their products especially tea popular in china now. the main selling point for tea is flavor and safety.
>> translator: taiwanese tea is good. from the first sip it has a nice aftertaste. >> reporter: recently, more and more taiwanese tea companies have entered the chinese market. tea is a vital part of the culture of both parts of the taiwan, the two sides have found on agreement to reduce -- and that has led to a rise in exports from taiwan. >> translator: taiwanese tea companies have already entered the market here in china. the number will increase in the next few years. i expect some major brands will emerge and become dominant here in the mainland. >> reporter: that is a taiwanese island, and here is east china.
you can see its distance is very close. chinese tea companies are waking up to the challenge. the tea grown in the mountains is the premium brand. this is one of the tea growers here. five years ago he decided to convert his rice paddies making his tea fields 2.5 times bigger. he is set on producing tea that can even rival high-quality taiwanese tea. >> translator: taiwanese tea is probably better than ours, and it's likely to have an effect on us. but our tea can be competitive. we're doing all we can by developing new varieties of tea.
>> reporter: this tea company is also taking steps to stand out from the pack. its president -- tea bags are not common in china, but the president believes consumers will take to them as the pyramid-shaped tea bags allow lots of room for the tea leaves to brew properly and give a good flavor. because good safety and hygiene are major issues in china, he sees this as a way for his company to promote its products. >> translator: the tea market is saturated, and competition is fierce. now we're facing premium tea from abroad and also taiwanese
brands. but i'm confident our clean, hygienic tea bags will help us get through this difficult period. >> reporter: now china and taiwan are moving closer. they are becoming rivals in the market for this traditional beverage. unesco recently recognized japan's first state-run silk factory as a world heritage site, and people living near the celebrated mill are not only overjoyed at the success, they're also determined to maintain the buildings and techniques for future generations. nhk world's yoshiyuki kori has more. >> adopted. congratulations, japan. >> reporter: unesco named the mill as a new heritage site.
people living near the mill north of tokyo have been anticipating the good news. and local children gathered at the site to make the occasion. they promised to look after the mill from now on. that despite facing some serious challenges that need to be addressed. there are about 110 buildings in the compound, and the oldest dates back more than 140 years. >> translator: some parts are flaking off, and there are big holes here. it's in pretty bad condition. we have to consider the possibility that even a small earthquake could bring these walls down.
>> reporter: because of the risk of earthquake damage, currently people can only look at two of the buildings. fixing the rest is likely to take some time and will only come at considerable cost. experts say restoring cultural heritage is a particularly difficult process. >> translator: we first must make a record of the existing conditions. then we decide what parts should be replaced and find out exactly what problems there are. restoration efforts need to proceed step by step. >> reporter: and many people want to go even further. currently, tourists can see only the silk production process four times a year.
that's why tomioka city officials want to restore the historic scene and see the entire production process. they hope to see this from over 20 years ago and boost tourism to the mill. >> translator: we want people at home and abroad to know what silk is, that it's being produced here in tomioka and that we're still making it now. >> reporter: the goal is for the city to start marketing its own brand of silk within two years. the people in tomioka see the recognition by unesco as an exciting new challenge as they work to preserve the area's silk heritage. yoshiyuki kori, nhk world, tomioka. japanese space agency officials are sharing some of their pictures with the world. they've released the first batch of images taken by a land
observation satellite they launched last month. the daichi-2 satellite uses a radar system to monitor disaster damage and other geological conditions from an altitude of more than 600 kilometers. the images were shot as part of procedures to check the satellite's performance. this one shows an area from the tip of the izu peninsula west of tokyo to mt. fuji. the radar peered through the clouds to offer details of the topography. mt. fuji can be viewed by different angles by combining satellite imagery with data from maps. and you can see the island south of tokyo shown in colors based on satellite data. green indicates vegetation and light purple shows urban areas. scars from last october's massive landslide are also noticeable. daichi-2 is expected to start providing observation data to